Stakeholders in interviews and the Town-Gown workshop recognize that effective governance is necessary for a functioning environmental review system. Concern has been expressed regarding the ineffectiveness of the Environmental Council, the lack of staffing and resources for OEQC to fulfill its statutory duties, and the marginalization of the Environmental Center. The Study recommends the following for improving the effectiveness of Hawaii’s governance system.
- Clarify lines of authority and duties for governance agencies (OEQC, Environmental Council, Environmental Center).
- Provide more funding, staff, and administrative support for governance agencies.
- Reallocate governance duties, responsibilities, and organizational relationships among the three entities.
- Alternative A: Clarify roles and responsibilities within the existing system and provide greater institutional support
- Alternative B: Adopt a governance model based on the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ): the Environmental Council advises the Governor directly; OEQC becomes staff for the Environmental Council
- Alternative C: Transfer some authority to the Counties
- County governments designate a county department to oversee County-level ER
- Create local Environmental Councils for each County
- Alternative D: Create a new, independent agency tasked with environmental stewardship and overseeing the environmental review process